By Jacki McLenaghan
I’ll tell you a little story….
Years ago I came to the conclusion that I needed to strengthen the foundations within my company and the first thing that I decided to do was to get a new computer. The purchase left me very excited. I thought to myself “Hmmmmm, there must be so many things about this new toy that I don’t know that I don’t know.” One thing that I did know for sure was that there was a man who had been coming to many of my events who was a self proclaimed “Apple Expert.”
Great! This was a perfect time to give him a call.
I hired him for a session in which the majority of the time was spent on telling me that I required a new website. Yes I paid $60 per hour to listen to a sales pitch. The echoing voice in my head repeated the same old mantra, “Be nice Jacki, don’t rock the boat.” I listened, I paid and yes, I started the process of getting a whole new website.
This was my first red flag, yet I chose to ignore it.
Before the exchange of money, my new “web designer” told me that all of my needs were not only possible but also easy! This was good news indeed.
But once the project began the tone changed.
Before I had received any work I was repeatedly told about a list of rules that I was forbade in breaking. I’m fine with setting expectations but the way in which they were delivered left me feeling as guilty as a criminal yet I had not committed a single crime.
To further my early onset frustration, what I had asked for at the beginning was, and I quote “Not an option.” On and on my needs were not addressed and his rules were being thrust upon me. The underlying message that he conveyed was “What is in it for me!” And my pattern of behavior was “don’t cause trouble.” His earlier claims now seemed more like a rooster showing its colorful feathers.
As the project progressed more red flags emerged but unfortunately I did not listen. I waited an exorbitantly long period time for this website and I paid $6000 in the meantime. Sadly, when all was said and done, the site was a disaster and completely unusable. It couldn’t do what I had wanted and I was not delivered what was promised.
Finally, I voiced my concerned and I threw away the need to be “nice.” I wrote an honest letter describing the fact that this was not a working or functional web design. As I had anticipated, I received a negative response describing how “I didn’t have a very good work philosophy.” Funny, I paid the $6000 for nothing and yet I am the problem…hmmmm.
Note to self: Be wary of those who cannot take responsibility and only blame others.
Anyway, after I had written the letter I consciously decided to let it go. I was not going to fight and instead I was going to undertake the enormous task of creating the website that I always wanted and one that I could freely share my input. I was going to do it the right way this time.
Back to square one, but this time I had come to realize that this was far more than a case of poor business practices. This had way more to do with how my inner world was affecting the outer. I wanted to take responsibility for my part in this story. I wanted to break out of old roles and default patterns that were no longer serving me.
The only way to break free is to become aware. Watch yourself diligently for old patterns of behavior and experiment with new ones. The marks of my past experiences led me to realize that the need to please people and to have them like me destructive. By shifting this internally, I knew I would stop attracting the people who want to take advantage.
The sad truth is that I didn’t get taken advantage of at all. I had been a willing participant in this fiasco by ignoring my own red flags and choosing to be passive vs. expressing my needs.
So many people run their businesses out of fear of loss as opposed to joy, passion and the shear act of creation. I refuse to remain as one of them.
From this seemingly negative experience I have learned 3 very positive things.
1. You have a voice and you deserve to be heard
2. Listen to red flags and act accordingly when you hear them
3. Associate with positive, inspiring and uplifting people
You are worthy and YOU deserve success so listen to those red flags!